Swollen gums are often one of the first signs of periodontal or gum disease. More commonly known as gingivitis, periodontal disease is one of the leading infections suffered by Americans. According to data released by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, not brushing and flossing enough is the number one cause of gum disease of which swollen gums is an early symptom. The good news is that in most cases, swollen gums are preventable
Swollen gums can be caused by a number of different factors, but an infection resulting from plaque build up on the teeth is the most common cause. The bacteria in the plaque trigger the accumulation of fluids and white blood cells in the area, causing the gums, or gingiva, to swell. Pregnant women, postmenopausal women, and adolescents going through puberty often experience swelling of the gums, likely due to changes in the body's hormone levels. Vitamin C, calcium, niacin and vitamin B deficiencies can also cause the gums to swell. Supplements, including vitamin D, and eating a nutritious diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables may be all that is needed to treat gingivitis caused by nutrient deficiency.